Over the years there’s a kind of goal I’ve valued more than any other. Volleys. I love me some sweet, sweet volleys. It’s a predilection that’s carried over from real-world football into the virtual football world. One of the reasons I still view PES5 as the best football game ever made is for the variety and richness of its volleys. My first PES5 movie showcases many.
PES is still the game to play for those exquisite first-time rockets. You know the feeling. The ball is falling through the air towards your player. You squeeze the shoot button just so… All being well, it’s almost a sensual pleasure to watch the subsequent volley fly into the back of the net.
Volleys aren’t something that FIFA09 does very well. Actually, that’s not accurate. What I should say is that volleys in FIFA09 aren’t something that I do very well. It has to be admitted that in many areas (too many areas) PES is still my paradigm, my yardstick, my instinctive measure of what’s right and normal and ‘proper’. This is wearing off as the years pass and the balance of power between the two games continues to shift. But at the moment, PES volleys are still the way I want to volley. And FIFA09 won’t let me.
I do get it right sometimes. Before we get into looking at the replays, I would like to reiterate that I’m still using almost all semi-assisted/manual controls in FIFA09. Through-balls are the only control still on the default fully assisted setting. Both of the volleys below were scored using semi-assisted shooting. And I’m playing on World Class difficulty.
First up was with Bojan against Manchester United:
The player supplying the cross is my created player, who’s got alarmingly good very quickly. This goal kick-started what turned out to be probably my most satisfying single session on FIFA09 since October last year. Somehow, everything just worked. I didn’t win every match out of the 6-or-so that I played. I lost one, drew one, and won the others. But they were all enoyable matches. Especially some of the goals…
Here’s Pavlyuchenko doing the business against Newcastle. Again, ‘I’ am the player supplying the dainty aerial through-ball that sets up the showbiz volley (and no, this time I didn’t have the patience to upload to EA Sportsworld, hence the digital camera coming into play):
I can’t begin to say how happy I was with this goal. It was a morale-booster for me in the context of FIFA09. It’s rare enough for me to get a goal from outside the box. Getting a volley, and one that looked so good to boot… I was delighted.
Volleys in FIFA09 are all about timing. One of the most astonishing things that new-style FIFA has done is to show us retrospectively just how arcadey PES is and always has been. You can get away with murder in PES, particularly in the old-school ones, and particularly in my beloved PES5. In truth, you hardly had to bother timing volleys at all. The game would sort it all out for you. Animations could be interrupted in order to execute volleys at any time—resulting in those (in)famous PES ‘shin volleys’.
In FIFA09, timing is absolutely critical. Shoot too early or too late, and you will not be forgiven. The game won’t help you.
The lesson I take from this session is that there is still much for me to discover and enjoy in FIFA09. As I type these words late on Sunday night I am itching to get back on FIFA09. It’s worth noting that this is the first time I have felt like this for many months. Will it last?